Thin Places, Contemplation, and Discernment

A Few Questions about Celtic Spirituality

Recently I led a Celtic spirituality retreat through the Copper Beech Institute in Connecticut. During the retreat we talked about such topics as the spirituality of holy wells, thin places, and the concept of “the edge of waiting” as a Celtic way of contemplating. One of the participants sent me an email after the retreat […]

Who’s Your Favorite Christian Mystic?

Here's a Book to Help You Find Out

I’m happy to announce that my latest book — Christian Mystics: 108 Seers, Saints and Sages — has been published. The first printing has been delivered to my publisher’s warehouse, and they are now in the process of being shipped out to bookstores (both online and brick & mortar). So your favorite bookseller should have stock […]

Georgia Author of the Year!

"Befriending Silence" wins in the Inspirational/Religious Category

This past Saturday evening I received a lovely honor. The Georgia Writers’ Association selected me as a “Georgia Author of the Year” in the Inspirational/Religious category for Befriending Silence. The Georgia Author of the Year Awards is the oldest literary awards ceremony in the southeastern United States, started by the Dixie Council of Authors and Journalists in […]

This Silent Blog is Going Silent

(But Only Until Pentecost)

I hope you have had a wonderful and prayerful Lent, and that your Holy Week is likewise a time for reflection and contemplative waiting. Here’s looking forward to Easter — and the Easter season. May it be filled with joy, warmth, and plenty of “alleluias”! One thing that won’t be part of this Easter season: new […]

Books and a Film: All About Silence

Explore the Heart of Contemplation With These Titles

I would love to attend the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin next month — if for no other reason than to be at the North American premiere of the movie In Pursuit of Silence. Here’s the latest trailer for this “meditative film about our relationship with sound and the impact of noise on our lives.” […]

Here’s the latest trailer for the upcoming movie “In Pursuit of Silence” which will have its North American premiere at the South by Southwest festival in Austin.

Interview with Carl McColman on Befriending Silence: Discovering the Gifts of Cistercian Spirituality

Colette Lafia recently interviewed me — we discussed Befriending Silence and the blessings of Cistercian spirituality — and the interview has now been published on her website. Click here to read it.

Colette, incidentally, is herself the author of a wonderful book shaped by Cistercian spirituality: Seeking Surrender: How My Friendship with a Trappist Monk Taught Me to Trust and Embrace Life.

From the Romantic movement onward, … the mystical impulse was cut loose from ascetical discipline, ecclesial life and supervision or direction, and now focused on precisely the most distracting and “paranormal” phenomena rather than on the union with God or theosis or that perfect reign of justice and peace that had been the tradition’s terminal images for the journey. The culture came down with a good case of Zen sickness — loving enlightenment rather than the light, or, in Christian terms, desiring religious experience rather than God — from which it has not yet recovered. There are some hopeful countervailing trends at present… but this is the culture we have inhabited for nearly two hundred years.

Islands like Iona or Lindisfarne are renowned the world over as holy places of Great Britain. But there are other, lesser known, “holy isles” there, and one of them is Caldey Island in Wales, which is home to a Cistercian monastery and has had a monastic presence for over 1000 years.

This lovely 35-minute video provides deeply contemplative footage filmed on Caldey, with narration derived from prayers and meditations from The Book of Silent Prayer. It is both a prayerful and deeply meditative journey into the beauty of nature in this holy place.

This year I return to the “Winter Feast for the Soul” for my third set of contemplative meditations. We’re working on a different format: in the past we would create 40 different podcasts, so participants in the Winter Feast would be able to listen to a different meditation each day. The organizers got feedback from some participants who felt like it was a lot of material to digest; so this year we’re doing a leaner, cleaner Winter Feast: we’re creating ten podcasts (rather than 40), with a new one being released every four days over the course of the forty days. Participants are still asked to have thirty minutes of silence each day, but the suggestion is to listen to each meditation four times. Another change: during the meditation, we’ll set up a chime to ring at ten minute intervals. That way of someone only wants to meditate for 20 minutes (or even just 10 minutes), you’ll have the chimes to let you know when your time is up.

The idea behind the Winter Feast of the Soul is to encourage participants to begin or strengthen a daily practice of meditation (or mindfulness, or silent prayer) with a series of podcast meditations to listen to over the forty days, which begin today (January 15) and run through February 23.

The overall theme for Winter Feast 2016 is “Going Deeper,” so that’s the theme for my set of meditations: “Going Deeper in the Contemplative Life.” I’ll be looking at the gifts and fruit of the Spirit to guide us. As with all Winter Feast meditations, mine will be grounded in my faith (which is Christianity) but presented in a way that will hopefully speak to all people.

I hope you’ll join us. Visit the website to learn more: Winter Feast for the Soul.

Date: January 15, 2016—February 23, 2016
Appearance: Winter Feast for the Soul 2016: “Going Deeper in the Contemplative Life”
Outlet: Winter Feast for the Soul
Location: Online
Format: Podcast

My Wonderful Book Covers

European Architecture Graces the Design of Three of my Books

As an author (especially as a spiritual author), I always have to walk a fine line: the nature of marketing means I need to be promoting my books, but the nature of humility means that I may not brag about them. At least, not about the text, which is to say, the content that I created. But my books are […]

A Quick Word

Just Letting You Know What I'm Up To

Friends, you may have noticed that I’m not posting much lately. Don’t worry, that’s only a temporary situation. I am currently focussed on writing my next book, which will be a companion volume to The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. It will be published in late 2016 or early 2017. I’ll say more about it when […]

#1 on Amazon!

Befriending Silence tops "New Release in Christian Monasticism & Asceticism" Chart

Okay, I know this is a “big fish in a small pond” moment. Indeed, it’s a VERY small pond. But still! Over the last 24 hours, Befriending Silence (which will be published in four weeks) has been listed as Amazon’s “#1 New Release in Christian Monasticism & Asceticism“! Woo hoo! My little book on Cistercian spirituality has topped […]

Kenneth Leech (1939-2015)

One of the Great Contemplatives of Our Time Was Also a Prophet for God's Justice and Mercy

I have learned of the passing of Father Kenneth Leech, who died on September 12, 2015 after a long illness. He was born in 1939 and grew up in a secular home in the north of England. As a youth he was inspired by Alasdair MacIntyre (later famous for his renowned study of postmodern moral theory, […]